Today I’m going to talk about managing money when you’ve just moved in with your partner. My BF and I moved in together this past September. We’d been together for 4 1/2 years at that point and moving in together was a really big step for us. 

You see, I come from a Catholic background, so shacking up with your boyfriend was always a definite no-no in my family. At the start of our relationship, I really wanted to keep that promise to myself and wait to move in with my BF until after we got married. Then again, I definitely wasn’t in a hurry to get hitched either. My parents got married very young and very quickly, and although they are about to celebrate 30 years together this summer, I knew I wanted to date someone for at least 5 years before walking down the aisle.

Choosing the Right Time to Move in

After I graduated university, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just jumping from my parents’ place into my boyfriend’s. Just a bit too Jane Austen for my taste. I also really wanted to experience living on my own first, so I told my BF I needed at least another year before we could start looking for a place together, and I’m so glad I did. Despite having some not so good roommate experiences, I had the time of my life with my last roommate.

Once our year lease was up, my roommate was off to work on a cruise ship and my BF and I started apartment hunting. That is a blog post unto itself, so I’ll leave that story for another time.

After we signed the lease on our current place, besides figuring out what pieces of furniture we still needed to get and who should clean the bathroom first (I did, it was disgusting) we knew the most important thing we needed to talk about was money.

Talking Money on a Whole New Level

Since we both had qualms about getting a joint bank account before we got married, we decided the best route would be to keep everything separate.

Personally, I highly recommend this to all couples who have just started living together. And not just to prevent all of those “You spent how much on what?” arguments, but also because there’s always the possibility that you could break up, and do you really want your emotional-wreck of an ex having access to your bank account? I didn’t think so.

After agreeing that keeping our money separate was a good idea, we still had to figure out who would pay what bills. The only joint bills we have are cable, internet, electricity and rent. Luckily, heat and hot water are included in our rent so that makes things a bit simpler.

We decided it would be easiest if one of us took care of physically paying the bills, and my BF said he’d do it since he set up our hydro account and he just transferred over his cable and internet from his old place to our new place. So, every month he emails me a list of what all of our bills cost so we can both keep a record of everything, then I just transfer the money directly into his chequing account. Easy-peasy.

As for groceries and any household items, we just keep all of our receipts and then I do the math on who owes who what at the end of every month. And that’s it really. Everything else we buy separately. And if something comes up, then we discuss whether we wanna buy it on our own or go halfsies on it.

Communication is Key

You’ve probably heard this from your parents or on any TV show about relationships, but it’s the truth. If you want to have a strong, fruitful relationship with your partner, you need to make open communication a priority.

I know money isn’t an easy topic to discuss because it’s usually considered a very private and intimate thing. Most people don’t talk about money openly on a day-to-day basis (personal finance bloggers excluded obviously).

That being said, talking about money with your partner is just as important as talking about your feelings, your values and your goals. And I promise you this, once you start talking about money with your partner, it gets easier. You may even start to enjoy those conversations because they’ll eventually lead into conversations about going on a vacation together, buying a place together or dare I say it, budgeting for your wedding.

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